Skip to main content

Guide to Becoming a Hippie



Please note: this is NOT a lens about being a hippie (that's a separate lens).  This is a lens about becoming a hippie.  Got it?


1.  Turn on: Just avoid drugs, drugs are for squares, hippies gave drugs up for the most part around the same time that the worldwide square addiction to drugs began.  Pushers and drug lords couldn't make money off hippies because hippies grew their own.  So the drug lords and pushers turned to hooking squares who were too square to know how dangerous drugs were and are.

2. Tune in.

3. Drop out: Actually you should stay in school. You can get an education and still become a hippie. The education actually helps you become more hip. The word "hip" means aware. Therefore, a hippie is one who is aware.


hippie philosophy

When I was young, I did exactly what you are doing now: I read up on hippies, studied books about hippies, read magazine articles about hippies, any TV program about hippies I watched, and even read Britannica Yearbook sections on hippies. In other words, I looked before I leaped. I decided to become a hippie and decided that whatever expectations that squares had (drug use, not taking baths, radical activity, STD's, and the rest of the long list of myths) was their problem not mine. I have never used drugs and nowadays that is true of the majority of hippies. I never stopped taking baths but I am wary of triclosan for the same reason that I am wary of overuse of antibiotics -- you can set yourself up for super-infection. I'm a Christian myself (or try to be) and am aware of the conflict between free love and traditional views of sex. I'm not talking about safe sex which is simple common sense. I'm talking about this wait till marriage stuff. Even the most extreme preaching on the subject (Bill Gothard) is largely based on his own reaction to the free-love rebellion spirit of the 1960s-1970s, rather than being based on the Bible itself. Many Protestant denominations don't bat an eye about women not being virgins when they get married for the first time. The double standard that does not insist on male virginity is true of many religions not just Christianity. The Catholic churches of late don't freak out about loss of virginity before marriage. I don't know about Eastern Orthodox. As far as I know, of all religions common in the USA, only Ultra-Orthodox Judaism places any value on male virginity. And that is my personal reaction to any conflict between my own religious beliefs and the free love idea that is (or was) a hallmark of hippie philosophy. If your own religious beliefs differ from mine and you are becoming a hippie, I strongly encourage safety. You really do not hear of rampant AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases among hippies so many others must have independently come to conclusions similar to mine.

With the above long and rambling preamble out of the way, here is hippie philosophy boiled down:

1. Do your own thing as long as you don't hurt anyone else.

2. The core "hippie" philosophy is staunchly aloof to politics and politicians. This puts hippies who are quietists at the opposite pole from radicals who are activists. [See module on hippies and radicals]. Hippies are apolitical or non-political.

3. The foundation of the hippie movement finds historical precedent as far back as the counterculture of the Ancient Greeks, espoused by philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics also as early forms of hippie culture. Hippie philosophy also credits the religious and spiritual teachings of Gandhi, Hillel the Elder, Buddha, Mazdak, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, and Jesus Christ. [Thanks Wikipedia]

4. utopianism -- this leaves us vulnerable to religious cults

5. libertarianism with a lower-case l -- Uppercase L is political and we aren't political and the other problem with Libertarianism with a capital L is that is leaves us vulnerable to authoritarian violent bullies. As long as we are on the subject of L, "live and let live" is basic hippie philosophy.

6. don't trust the Establishment -- beyond that, hippies part company with radicals

7. free love but with safe sex -- beyond the Sixties' free love idea, modern hippies now observe safe sex and most prefer fidelity to one person or at least one stable group. The whole idea of free love is contained in the saying: "make love, not war".

Note on the references to "vulnerable": It is true that LSD was created by the CIA for purposes of mind control and they experimented upon middle class white American kids. Now is it possible to be more evil than to experiment upon children and to develop mind control? Probably not. Slavery and genocide are at the bottom of the barrel as far as evil goes but this mind control stuff might as well be included in the list of worst sins. Do not take my word for it. Do your own research. The government itself created the hippie movement because after Timothy Leary's followers lost interest in both the government and in Timothy Leary, they went off to start the hippie movement.

hippie philosophy


hippies and radicals

poles apart

I have no use for radicalism but that said, radicals have done more good in the USA than reactionaries such as KKK, the Bund & Silver Shirts back during the Jim Crow era. Lots of progress in civil rights, labor rights, and women’s rights are the direct result of radicals in the USA. Neo-Nazis, white separatists, Identity, neo-Confederates and other reactionaries have contributed NOTHING to America -- unless you think that the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah building was a good thing (as many Tea Party reactionaries think). Let's repeat this for emphasis: radicals despite excesses have tried (and often succeeded) in improving America. Reactionaries hate America and try to destroy it. Left up to reactionaries there would still be slavery, children working in sweat shops, and women being beaten for trying to vote. Those traditional values that they are always talking about? Nonexistent. They hate blacks, Native Americans, other minorities, women, children, old people (they're trying to gut Social Security), poor people, middle class people, rich people, Jewish people, Sikhs (whom they confuse with Muslims), legal immigrants (I got a problem with illegals but none with legals), Democrats, most Republicans, and pretty much everybody else. If you read some of the literature that they circulate amongst themselves, then you find out what they really think of Jesus and Christians. These ultra-conservatives view Christians as suckers who will knee-jerk vote for anything as long as it is couched as conservative or anti-liberal.

Scroll to Continue

Hippie Clothes and Fashions

Unlike squares, we don't like being told what to wear. Granted there are situations where you should adhere to a dress code. I know lots of hippies who on occasion will stuff their hair under a hat and put on a three piece suit. In fact Malcolm Forbes (yes, that Malcolm Forbes) didn't care how long his sons' hair was as long as they wore suits.

Now you could argue that hippies won the style war because Casual Friday has become casual all week. A lot of Silicon Valley companies don't care if you wear jeans and a T-shirt to work as long as you are a good employee. But you are looking for quintessential "hippies clothes" and that's why you are reading this. Fair enough. The answer is three-fold: Hippies wear extremely colorful clothes (hence the term "flower children" for hippies of this stripe). Other hippies wear drab jeans and T-shirts just like squares. Not even tie-dyed (that's flower children). And the third major clothes option for hippies is clothing optional.. Surely by now you know that a lot of hippies would go through life from birth to death without ever wearing clothes. Only a few nudists and naturists living in remote places and private clubs have come close to actually accomplishing this never-wear-clothes Jain commitment.

Some of you are screaming; Cheat! We want fashion tips. I will mention that granny dresses were popular at the same time as micro-miniskirts for women. Men wore Nehru jackets or Peter Max suits when they wanted a break from the old jeans. And speaking of jeans, bellbottoms could get flared as large as monster bells to accommodate guys who wanted to wear their Shenandoah boots inside their jeans rather than stuffing their je